Anna Mendez, LPN, gives Vern Henderson a Moderna COVID-19 vaccine at a clinic established by Healthcare Network in Immokalee, Florida on May 20, 2021.
Joe Raedle | Getty Images
The White House is sending Covid-19 response teams in the United States to focus on combating the highly contagious Delta variant, the Biden government announced on Thursday.
The teams, made up of officials from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other federal agencies, will work with communities at higher risk for outbreaks and focus on increasing the rate of Covid-19 vaccinations, the Covid said – White House Tsar Jeff Zients during a White House news about the pandemic.
The teams will also step up testing to expand detection of the virus, facilitate contact tracing and provide therapeutics to treat those infected, he said, adding the government is ready to provide additional staff.
There are 1,000 counties in the U.S. with a vaccination coverage rate of less than 30%, said CDC director Dr. Rochelle Walensky at the meeting. These counties, especially in the south and the Midwest, are the most susceptible to the variant, she said.
“To be clear, the federal government is ready to meet the moment and work with our government partners to respond to the Delta variant,” Zients said.
Delta, which was first identified in India but now in at least 96 countries, is expected to become the predominant variant of the disease in the United States. The prevalence of the delta is estimated to be about 60% higher transmissible than the alpha variant first found in the UK, doubling about every two weeks in the US, according to the CDC.
It accounts for 26% of Covid cases in the US, estimates the CDC. Dr. Anthony Fauci, Senior Medical Advisor to the White House, has mentioned the variant the “greatest threat” on the nation’s attempt to eliminate Covid-19.
The WHO has said that the variant is the fastest and strongest strain of coronavirus to date and will “pick up” the most vulnerable people, especially in places with low Covid vaccination rates.
In some regions of the country, almost every second sequence is the delta variant, said Walensky. As the variant spreads, officials expect transmission to increase unless states can vaccinate more people, she added.
This is a developing story. Please check again for updates.